Welcoming Ben Giles as Fond du Lac County Historical Society’s Executive Director

Welcoming Ben Giles as Fond du Lac County Historical Society’s Executive Director

The Fond du Lac County Historical Society Board of Directors announces Ben Giles has been hired as its Executive Director.  He will begin his role on September 9, 2020.

“It’s exciting to hire a local resident who knows and loves our county and has extensive experience in the duties we have outlined for the position of Executive Director,” said Teresa Keenan, President of the Fond du Lac County Historical Society Board.

Giles has worked for the Fond du Lac Family YMCA and previously at the YMCA of Dane County.  He currently serves on the Fond du Lac City Council, Fond du Lac Festivals Board, Destination Lake Winnebago Board, Big Brothers Big Sisters Board, YPF Advisory Council, the Fond du Lac Public Library Board, and heads an entertainment company, Laughable Productions, LLC.  “The Fond du Lac County Historical Society does an excellent job at preserving and showcasing our rich history while continually looking toward the future,” said Giles. “I’m eager to build on the momentum from their most recent capital improvements and ready to continue to offer dynamic programming and events for the public.  The Historical Society is in a great position to bring Fond du Lac County together, and I couldn’t be more excited to help lead this organization.”

Three years ago, Galloway family members approached the Fond du Lac County Historical Society with the offer of paying for the assistance of a consultant, and Mark Germano, Creating Solutions, was hired.  The donation of the consultant fee included a $50,000 matching grant (matched at the end of 2018) that spurred community interest in restoring the Galloway House and Village with larger donations following in spring of 2019.  Through Creating Solutions’ guidance, the Board began restructuring and adopted a new mission statement, vision, values, and logo.

Simultaneously Fond du Lac County Executive and Board of Supervisors assumed the Galloway House as a project using half percent sales tax funds to save the asset of the largest historic artifact in Fond du Lac County.  In the summer of 2018, the roof and chimneys were restored; in 2019, restoration of the house from the roofline down was completed; and in 2020, the Galloway House is being repainted.

A construction committee was formed to prioritize use of the funds from 2019 with some small projects completed that year and formative planning for larger projects scheduled for 2020 after the season closing in the fall.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board decided not to open the village in spring 2020 and large construction projects were begun in earnest.

Mark Germano worked with the Board and various committees to maintain momentum. Germano endorsed hiring an Executive Director with proven fundraising and programming skills to propel the Fond du Lac County Historical Society forward, to accomplish established goals, and to meet the needs of the community.

Germano stated, “I think Ben Giles has the experience the Society will need to be a sustainable forward-thinking organization that will make history fun.”